Thursday, August 29, 2013

train whistle guitar

A book for the fall trip, bought used through Amazon, arrived yesterday.  I had not heard of the book or the author until I read the writer's obituary in the New York Times a few days ago

Train Whistle Guitar is a coming of age story written by Albert Murray.  Murray was born in Escambia County, Alabama and raised in a neighborhood called Magazine Point.  The book follows "Scooter" as he grows up in the fictional Gasoline Point surrounded by blues music and all the other elements of the rich southern culture.

From a reviewer at Amazon....

"The most striking aspect of this book is Murray's style, which is absoloutely a joy to read. The major accomplishment that Murray makes in Train Whistle Guitar is the incorporation of the improvisational rhythms of Jazz and blues into speech. In other words, Murray's narrator and characters talk in riffs, call-and-response patters, in trading-twelve exchanges. His prose is rhythmic forceful and eloquent, swift and swift and not too swift. This work was one of the first to incorporate the aesthetics of Jazz into prose and novel; the result is a profound success."
"This stylistic power is mated to the story of a boy growing up in blues-filled Gasoline Point Alabama. The way jazz music is integrated into both plot and style is impressive; and make no mistake, Murray is quite serious about the role that music plays in his character's upraising and confrontations with life. Brilliant."

Train Whistle Guitar passed the first page test:  I read the first page and did not want to put it down.  But I did put the book down, tucking it away in the light kit where my books and logbooks are kept safe and dry while cruising on Spartina.


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